Duck-Work

Sponsor: Boston Society of Architects
Structural consultant: Benjamin Cornelius, LERA
Fabricators: CW Keller, Studio A+I, Kin & Co.
Site: Boston, MA
Size: 300 sqf
Status: Built, 2014

The Timber: New England Design + Fabrication Competition called for proposals to create a site-specific installation innovating within New England building and craft traditions using engineered lumber or heavy timber. Duck-Work was one of four winning entries chosen to be constructed for the Urban Timber: From Seed to City exhibition at the Boston Society of Architects Space.

Duck-Work combines two tools from traditional wood building techniques in order to create a new construction method: One, “ducks” or spline weights, used to aid in the drafting of curved timber elements in shipbuilding such as the ribs of a hull; and Two, form-work, used when pouring vertical concrete elements in buildings such as walls. Both of these tools are used to hold a surface in shape by clamping perpendicularly to it, incorporating a form-tie. Thinking about these two tools created the opportunity to design a curved wooden structural module able to hold its shape by integrating the form-tie or duck directly within it, creating a new ground plane for the gallery.